Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Rest and a Request

Happy summer to you, friends!

A few weeks ago as I sat down to write a Next Step blog post, I realized I was tired and feeling out of material. Instead of being discouraging, it occurred to me that it was a call to action. I need two things: rest and your input.

First, I’m taking the month of July to rest entirely from blogging and social media. But I’ll be back in August full of new vim and vigor! She Speaks is part of the July mix, so I’ll definitely come back to you inspired and full of new information.

Here’s what I’d love to ask of you … would you send me the speaker or ministry related questions that are plaguing you? I know being in speaking ministry can be very lonely. You may feel like no one around you understands your calling or what you do. You may not have a person in your life to turn to with questions, but you’ve got me! I’d love to answer your questions right here on the blog so everyone in our speaker community can benefit and share their own solutions. You can email your questions to me at or just leave them in the comments section of this post.

So until August, I’m signing off, but I hope you have a wonderful July full of the delights of summer…

  • Extra time with friends and family
  • Evening hours to sit outside
  • Watermelon!
  • Celebrating our great country
  • Toes dipped into the water
  • Concerts in the park
  • Drippy ice cream cones

These are some of my favorites. Hope you’re enjoying yours!




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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Tip for Managing Your Nerves

Note: This post is from our archives, but it’s still my best tip for managing your nerves.

This post was written by Amy Carroll, director of Next Step Speaker Services.  To get to know Amy better, visit her at her personal blog www.amycarroll.org.  

When I get nervous, I start to lose my breath which isn’t great for a speaker.  I want my audience to be at ease as I start, and a shaky voice just doesn’t do it.  I struggled for a long time with this problem until one day I heard a radio personality talk about a method called square breathing.

Although my nervousness has lessened with time and practice, I still feel the butterflies start during my introduction.  I’ve learned to embrace a little nervousness as a natural adrenaline rush that will help me open with energy, but I want to have a steady voice.  Square breathing has been the answer for me.  Here are the steps:

  • While counting to 4, inhale slowly through your nose.
  • Hold the breath for 4 slow counts.
  • Exhale slowly through your mouth while counting to 4.
  • Hold the breath for 4 slow counts.
  • Repeat 2-3 times.

I think this works for several reasons.  It makes me slow my breathing down which keeps me from hyperventilating.  It floods my body with oxygen which helps clear and sharpen my mind.  It also gives my brain something to do (counting) besides thinking about how nervous I am!

I hope this simple, practical tip will be helpful.  What helps you manage your nervousness?


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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Why Coaching Goes Wrong and How to Fix It

Recently, I got a very tentative inquiry about my speaker coaching services from a woman, Sharon Hurkens, who had been burned twice in employing a speaker coach. These were disappointing and expensive let downs, so you can imagine she was gun-shy about trying again.

But after our free consultation call, Sharon felt comfortable going forward with me, and she just finished the Message Development Service. At the end, I asked her if the service had been what she hoped, and thankfully she said yes! I think there’s a lot to learn from her experiences, so I asked her to share with you. Here’s an interview in which I sent Sharon questions, and she wrote the answers.

Q:  When we did our free consultation call, you let me know you’ve had some negative speaker coaching experiences in the past that were also very expensive. What made you decide to try coaching again? 

A:  I am a Life Coach and have had success with most of my clients over the years as well as positive experiences with them, so I do believe in coaching.  It works.  That I did not do my research better before I just signed up for a $1200.00 coaching agreement with really no assistance at all, is no one’s fault but my own. 

I have been following Proverbs 31 for at least 18 months now and trust their word.  

Q: How did you feel about our experience working together? What made Next Step Speaker Services different from those other two experiences?

A:  I enjoyed my experience with Amy Carroll tremendously, she was professional yet personable.  I could relate to her with my faith and she was not from a New Age perspective where the “divine” is any god you desire him/her to be.  

Next Step Speaker services gave me hands on material and handouts which helped me to move from my current place in life.  I took a huge leap forward because of the current information Next Step uses. 

Q: What’s your next goal now that we’ve completed the Message Development Service?

After I have attended “She Speaks” Conference in July, I am going to hire Amy again either for my writing goals or to further my speaking goals. 

Q: I’m excited you’re coming to She Speaks this summer. I can’t wait to meet you in person! I know you’ve also been to SCORRE. Why do you think conferences are so valuable? What do you hope to gain from She Speaks?


A: I believe conferences are vital because there is a time to build new relationships, learn way more than I know and I will be refreshed, ready to attack whatever God has for me. 

You can “meet” Sharon on her blog at http://www.shedawayministries.com.


I am so pleased Sharon considered her investment in coaching with Next Step a success! Here are a few tips you may want to implement as you research any coaching you’re considering:

  • If you are looking for true Christian coaching, ask for a statement of faith before you sign a contract. In my case, my affiliation with Proverbs 31 makes my core beliefs more clear, but the label “Christian” doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone.
  • Discuss  expectations ahead of time and ask for a clear definition of the final product. There should be a written document or contract with all of it specifically written.
  • Ask who you will be receiving the coaching from. In both of Sharon’s cases, she assumed she would receive coaching from the person who sponsored the website and was disappointed to be delegated to someone else in the business.

In case you’re now wondering, here are the answers to these questions from Next Step Speaker Services:

  • Click here to read my statement of faith on my personal blog.
  • Next Step Speaker Services has a contract for each service detailing the number of hours covered by the service as well as the number of personal contacts. The service descriptions contain the final product you can expect to leave with from each service. Please know that services can also be individualized, and we’ll write your expectations into a general contract.
  • I do all the speaker coaching personally, so all your interactions will be with yours truly! :)

If you have any other questions either about speaker coaching in general or any of our services, please fill out the Request Information form, and I will contact you to schedule a time for a free phone consultation. I look forward to connecting with you personally!


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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Old Stories and New

Today is a video blog, so if you’re a subscriber, you can click here to watch.

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